This isn’t a leveling a guide. This guide is for after you’ve reached 70 through solo or p’lvl and get the GoD set as Headrig’s Gift in season or it’s the first complete set you get as someone has p’lvled you.
Weapon and off-hand combinations for right after you get your set
Hallowed Protectors: Crafted Two Piece Set.
Why? This set offers a 10% attack speed bonus, less than a quiver but still capable of meeting the 2.14 break point for the extra primary by rolling attack speed on the weapon and one other piece of equipment.
As you get other weapons you would use in the GoD set like Fortress Ballista, Dawn, or Valla’s Bequest, you can discard the weapon but you’ll lose the 10% attack speed bonus. The shield can be kept as long you deem necessary.
The combination can be used with Leonine or Emminie’s or Ninth Cirri Satchel or Odyssey’s End in the cube if you come across any of those weapons or quivers but feel the Legendary power is too low to use or you need it for a build you might use in speeds, Group Pushes like a zdps build, or T-16 rift running.
The shield can be used in late game in combination with Dawn to meet the 9 frames break point by removing attack speed from your paragon and not having attack speed on any equipment.
In my experience, the Dawn and Shield combination is less powerful than dual wielding or 2 hand xbow/quiver but is comparable to the 1 hand and quiver combination. It also is a good defensive option for early game before acquiring Bastion of Will (Focus and Restraint) and in combination with Justice Lantern which can replace the CC immunity offered by Vengeance with Dawn until you get either the rings or Dawn.
You can cube this if you come across one before a Dawn. In combination with an Emmenies’ Duffel/Leonine bow or Ninth Cirri Satchel worn, it’s a good option to increase damage while also helping to meet breakpoints that would allow an extra primary from Strafe.
Blitzbolter and Wall of Man: Crafted 1 hand xbow and Shield
This is something you can craft, cheaper than upgrading rares. Won’t give you the same 10% attack speed of Hallowed Protectors but will work in a similar way. And again as you replace the weapon, the Shield can remain, offering a 10% defense boost with it’s legendary power.
Unbound Bolt or Sydyru Crust and Archfiend Arrows
These two weapons and quiver again are cheaper than upgrading. The increased crit dam of Unbound and guaranteed Damage against Elites from Sydyru in combination with the crafted quiver Archfiend Arrows’ guaranteed Damage against Elites offer good damage as well as ease of acquirement. They’ll be replaced by a Yang’s and one of the quivers with a legendary buff to a primary but until then, they’re not bad options.
Hallowed Condemnation and Blitzbolter
If you don’t like how your character looks toting around a shield and need another cheap combination in this department. The Hand X-bow from Hallowed Protectors and Blitzbolter will definitely work. The extra crit dam from sporting two hand x-bows with emeralds is always a good thing. It’s a good bit harder to get to that 2.14 break point but it’s not anything to be overly concerned about if you don’t want too.
Of course you’re gonna be looking for Wraps of Clarity but some other options early in the game are…
A great place to pick up that attack speed roll to meet the break point you’ll need early for the extra primary from Strafe. Should definitely be considered until Wraps come along.
Strong Arm Bracers
Necessary for many zdps builds, so worth having just for that but even if you don’t play groups, these are worth your while in early game especially in combination with Leonine either cubed or equipped or using Ess of Johan.
Used in many speed builds, definitely worth throwing on in the early game.
These spawn elites from shrines and pylons. Great in early and mid game and useable in late game, they’re worth throwing on. One thing to mention though, in Greater Rifts and Rifts, they can spawn Whirling Dervish minions which reflect missiles when they start spinning. Not too bad when you’re one shotting everything but bad news if it takes a bit longer to kill them. Your reflected missiles deal a lot of damage and there’s not much stacking defense can do to protect you.
As mentioned earlier, this is a good ring when used in combination with a shield. It offers damage reduction, block chance, and up to 50% cc reduction through it’s guaranteed secondary. I’m telling you this rocks in early game. Great pick up until Bastion of Will comes along.
Stone of Jordan
Decent pick up. Changes the elemental damage of your other items if you have one or two with the wrong elemental damage roll but they do match each other’s type. Consider it an option worth considering.
Convention of Elements
For obvious Reasons. 50% damage increase is always welcomed.
We all know about this one but combine it with Justice Lantern and Shield and you’ve replaced your Wraps of Clarity if you’re still missing those. Go Rock those GR 80’s right of the bat, if you’ve cubed Ninth Cirri Satchel. Your defense will hold and damage will be good with either Hunter’s Wrath or Depth Diggers in the cube.
Obsidian Ring of the Zodiac
Great ring if you’re looking for cooldown reduction to use Vengeance. Definitely worth doing. It’s got a guaranteed cooldown roll, crit chance and attack speed roll so it’s another place to pick up that attack speed you’re looking to reach that 2.14 break point. (credit to Hebalon for this one)
Most anything will work here. But some things to look out for or to craft in the early game are…
It’s difficult to get great stats but you might get lucky and get a good passive and the guaranteed socket is one stat you won’t have to worry about the amulet missing.
Ess of Johan
Not quite as good Squirts or Flavor or Time, it’s a good amulet because of the pull to increase the damage of your Hungering Arrows with Ninth Cirri Satchel. The guaranteed cooldown roll is handy too as a rival to Flavor of Time in that department.
Though it’s hard to keep up the damage multiplier through the entire rift, in the early game and in late game, it comes in real handy against the Guardian. Also, if you’ve built the character with a bit more toughness with help from this guide, the drawback of taking more damage when hit won’t hurt as much through the rift. So, if you get it before another amulet, use it. It’s worth it.
Flavor of Time
The legendary power of this is just too good to pass up. Even a terribly rolled one will help you clear a rift around 20% faster if you come across a Conduit and Power. Also if you cube it or Squirts and wear the other, that Shield Pylon just gave you a 100% damage boost for double the duration of the shield pylon without it. Awesome sauce with a side of Oooooh Yeahhhhhhhh! lol
Hellcat Waistguard this item is great as it buffs Grenades, a fun skill in it’s own right, if you’re looking for an item that buffs a primary to a good degree don’t have Hunter’s Wrath and having trouble getting a quiver or weapon with a bonus to an primary attack. A 3 bounce one is best but a 4 or 5 are pretty good too. Nothing to sneeze at here.
Witching Hour attack speed and crit dam? Yes please! Works just fine while you’re looking for a Hunter’s Wrath. And again, there’s another place to pick up that one attack speed roll for the 2.14 breakpoint.
Fleeting Strap: Crafted Belt a cheap way to get that attack speed roll as well.
All these are good options.
While your searching for a Dawn here’s helpful skills to use in place of the defense loss of Vengeance…
Shadow Power/Gloom: for that extra defense
Shadow Power/Glide: for a speed boost if you’re looking speed in early rift runs. Great in combination with Echoing Fury to get from one elite pack to another quickly. However if you run Echoing Fury it is also very good idea to use the passive Night Stalker and maybe combine it with using the rune of your chosen primary that increases the hatred generated.
Companion/Boar: More defense which again helps if you’re missing Vengeance due to no Dawn.
Companion/Wolf: If you’re looking for more damage to tackle elites in the early game.
Fan of Knives/Bladed Armor: More defense is always good in case you’ve come across a Squirt’s Necklace and want to run with it.
Smoke Screen/Displacement: More speed for that elite hunting can be combined with Shadow Power/Glide but it comes at the cost of Discipline and you could wind up running out. Alternatively you could use Smoke Screen/Vanishing Powder in combination with the passive Tactical Advantage and Shadow Power/Glide for the speed you need.
Preparation/Focused Mind can replace Vengeance if you’re missing Dawn to help keep Shadow Power up.
Ambush and Cull the Weak or Single Out for damage and Hot Pursuit if you’re looking for speed.
In the early game, sometimes speed is more important than damage. Running Rifts for keys is going to be the biggest thing you’re doing at the beginning. In the beginning Greater Rifts will be important too but getting to the gems you need for GoD can take quite a few keys and then even more to level them.
But, you don’t need to level them very high to start upping Greater Rift Tiers. In fact, in the beginning it’s best to focus on your Simplicity’s Strength. Getting it to 50+ as soon as possible is vastly more important than trying to level all three of your gems to equal levels.
Some gems you can put some levels into if you acquired them before Simplicity’s Strength are Wreath of Lightning, Bane of the Trapped and Taeguk but once you get Simplicity’s Strength focus on it.
Getting back to Wreath of Lightning: This is really useful if you’re using Ess of Johan because the lightning strikes can proc the amulet making the pull more reliable. And the speed boost when leveled to rank 25 is awesome too.
Blood Shard Spending Strategy
In the early game, spending blood shards is as important as anything else. In order of importance…
- Quivers until you get one with a bonus to a primary attack
- Belt until you get Hunter’s Wrath. A bad one can be cubed and you can move on.
- Pants until you get Depth Diggers and cube them.
- Bracers until you get any of the options mentioned in that section of this guide or Wraps of Clarity.
- Back to belts until you get a good Hunter’s Wrath with a 180% to 200% multiplier.
- Back to bracers until you get Wraps of Clarity if you don’t already have them.
- Back to quivers focusing on Ninth Cirri Satchel which you’ll probably be focusing on for a very very long time.
And that, folks, is how you get through the early game.
I want to note however, that if you find a build you like through this guide and want to keep playing it because it’s fun or for whatever reason, there is no rule anywhere that you have to rush through the early game or leave it at all.
The point of playing games is to have fun. This guide is both a guide to get someone through the early game as fast as they want to or to help someone find a build that’s not difficult to gear and might be entertaining to play.
Point is, Have Fun and Happy Hunting!
Thanks and if folks have other ideas feel free to help me flesh out this guide. I’d greatly appreciate it.